***see 11/ 28 update below***
Reader reaction to the GOP cave-in on ANWR has been overwhelming. I’m reprinting just a small sample of letters that came in this morning from conservatives fed-up with Republican “leadership.”
Update 1120am EST. I’ll keep adding letters throughout the day.
Update 1145am EST. Many of you are asking for the list of the anti-drilling Republicans. The group who succeeded in pressuring the GOP to cave in calls itself the “Republican Main Street Partnership.” They’re holding a press conference at 130pm EST in Washington, D.C. to bray about their “victory.” Here’s some more info:
Main Street Leaders who helped broker the deal to eliminate ANWR from budget cuts: Rep. Charlie Bass (R-NH), Rep. Mark Kirk (R-IL), Rep. Jim Walsh (R-NY), Rep. Joe Schwarz (R-MI), RMSP Executive Director Sarah Chamberlain Resnick
Here’s the complete list of “Main Street” members in Congress.
1pm EST. Guess who is funding the “Main Street” moderates? George Soros and friends. (Hat tip: David Martosko)
Reader Eric W. sends some advice:
With very few exceptions, the e-mail systems of Capitol Hill only accept constituent mail and will filter out non-constituent correspondence. Your readers are better served by writing to their own Republican Reps. by through the use of sites like www.congress.org. For those not having an “R” in their congressional delegation, a phone call would work better – (202) 225-2976.
12pm EST. New e-mails…
Reader Gregory A.:
I cannot find words to express my disappointment in your decision to abandon the long-sought ability to explore for oil right here in our own country. The abject cowardice displayed by “Republican” moderates is a clear demonstration of why moderates will never be in the winning column. I have to begin to question my lifelong allegiance to the Republican party. If this is how I am repaid for my loyalty, it is time to move on.
Reader Aaron E.:
The long joke of GOP leadership being an oxymoron is unfortunately coming true. Millions of conservative voters across this great nation have elected what they thought was a conservative Republican President, House and Senate. We thought we would see conservative ideals and values expressed through the decisions made, but we have been faced with a consistent stream of “moderate” compromises.
The latest capitulation being removing drilling from ANWR and off our coasts. Why do you expect Republicans to be excited about voting, if the message we get from you, the supposed conservative politicians, is that you do not need us and do not care about our concerns.
The GOP has consistently turned its back on the base: Education bill, Medicare bill, insane spending, ignoring illegal immigration, giving up on more tax cuts, refusing to deal with Social Security, encouraging embryonic stem cell research with tax payer money and now no drilling in ANWR.
Frankly the voters could have a put a Democrat majority in control and gotten those kind of policy decisions. I am beginning to think the only time we can have a truly conservative Republican party is when we have a Democrat in the White House. Maybe we need a split government because the Republicans have certainly proved that they do not know how to govern effectively when they control both the Executive and Legislative branches.
I hope in the next few years you can prove me wrong. If you do not, I fear we will never have the opportunity again.
Reader/blogger Rick S.:
I have a neighbor who is a single mother. She struggles, but she gets by with acombination of determination and hard work. She has a W sticker on her (10 year old) car and she is proud to be a conservative.
Not too long ago she came to my wife in tears, humiliated by the need to borrow money from us; gasoline prices, you see, were high enough to break her meager budget. Thanks to your “leadership”, they aren’t likely to drop too far, are they?
I served in the Army as an Intelligence Analyst and served in Desert Shield/Desert Storm; I happen to know that dependence on foreign oil has a number of effects- It keeps the price higher; it makes us strategically weaker; it funnels money out of our economy; and it puts some of that money in the pockets of groups like Islamic Jihad, Hamas, and al-Qaeda.
So while the tundra of remote Alaskan coasts may not have a oil derrick, some of the money I spend on gas will be going to the creation of roadside bombs in
Iraq. So while Zarqawi may thanks you, I most emphatically do not.
Reader Mike B.:
Dear Speaker Hastert,
I am absolutely baffled and livid over the GOP cave-in to the wacko environmentalists with the removal of drilling in ANWR and other locations off the American continent!! What makes it ironic is that this spineless decision was done on the same day that the GOP-led Senate is grilling oil executives for perceived price gouging. What is wrong with this picture??!!
I’ll give you my assessment – it’s due to the lack of intestinal fortitude of the party I support – Republicans! What good is having the White House, the Senate, and the House if you all act as though you’re in the MINORITY??!!
As a recently retired 21-year Air Force officer I was taught that the first lesson in leadership is to LEAD! Why am I voting and supporting the GOP if you don’t have the cajones to make a difference? I’m sure GOP leadership knows what’s happening out in the rest of the country with respect to the conservative base. We are getting FED UP with the GOP leaders we put into office acting like a bunch of Democrats (big government, out of control spending, weak on immigration, etc.) and leading from a position of weakness. This is yet another example of it!
Bottom Line: The GOP leadership needs to grow some mighty big b**** and start acting like they own the WH, Senate, and House otherwise there will be a reckoning in 2006 and 2008. We may not vote for the Democrats, however, we’re darn sure not to going bust our butts getting out the vote and supporting a Party that continues to fall well below our expectations.
I know I’m not the only strong conservative who is up in arms over this latest capitulation from the GOP. Wake up and smell the roses before it’s too late.
Reader Jim F.:
It’s ironic that on the day that the United States Senate was busy blaming the oil industry for its own failed policies, the House of Representatives was busy removing all viable options for reducing our dependence on foreign oil. It seems that the arrogance of the Senate is matched only by the apathy of the House of Representatives. The message here is that the United States Congress will do nothing to address this problem and will not accept responsibility for its inaction. This is not the message that the American people want to hear, and they will hold you responsible in 2006.
Reader Kathryn T.:
I am frankly appalled at your cowardly actions this morning. For years, our country has been dependent on foreign sources of oil; and as Katrina and Rita so aptly demonstrated, the vast majority of the country’s refineries are located in one geographical region. Why, then, would anyone stand in the way of developing a new source of oil, in a new location?
The environmentalists’ complaints are, quite frankly, bunk. First of all, drilling techniques are so advanced that drilling in ANWR will require, if I recall correctly, roughly 0.1% of the land, leaving 99.9% of it untouched. In addition, there is no guarantee that drilling will even harm the caribou; the population near Prudhoe Bay actually increased significantly after drilling began there.
Even if the caribou were harmed, Mr. Hastert, I must ask you: what’s more important to you? Helping America become less dependent on foreign sources of oil and geographically diversifying America’s own oil production, or caribou?
That should be an easy question to answer.
Mr. Hastert, I am furious. This country is perilously close to needing a new party – a Conservative Party – because all we have is Democrats who call themselves Republicans and radical leftists who call themselves Democrats. I am far from being the only person who is questioning why we even vote. Why should we put Republicans in the majority when they won’t advance conservative principles?
And here’s a hint, Mr. Hastert, in case you couldn’t figure it out: America is far more important than caribou.
Reader John W.:
Dear Rep. Hastert:
It was with dismay and disappointment I read this morning that the Republicans have again capitulated to the left wing on the Alaskan oil drilling project.
How are we ever going to become independent of Middle Eastern oil interests if we do not develop our own resources? The Saudi regime is rotten with Wahabbi Islam, exports terrorists and Sharia-promoting money to our shores, and you in Congress do nothing to free us from this unholy alliance.
This is a most disheartening decision you Republicans have made. We who have supported you in election after election have watched one surrender after another to a Democratic Party that is bent on the destruction of our country and on losing this World War in which we are rightly involved.
Please find a backbone and take some action to release us from this Middle Eastern stranglehold. We need to drill for our own oil.
In the midst of the Senate’s pompous ‘Inquisition’ of the oil company executives yesterday, the cadaverous Body did find time later to put ANWR drilling back on the shelf. Get it? The Senate Energy Committee, at America’s real Public Enemy Number One, a.k.a. the U.S. Congress, wastes a day on their tedious gas-baggery and infantile, self-promotion about energy and its costs; and then they cravenly punt on a modest, and environmentally harmless measure, which would add a few more barrels to our tank…
…About a different Congress, someone named Ligne once said: “The Congress is going nowhere; it’s just dancing.”
And a perfectly awful dance it is.
Reader Roger B.:
Ijust fired off this message to my Congressman, Todd Platts (R-INO?)…
WHY AM I VOTING REPUBLICAN? Once again, our GOP squishes have caved to the environmentalists, who rely on junk science and junk economics to increase our dependence on foreign energy sources.
Whether through ill-advised “price gouging” prosecutions (it’s called supply and demand…free markets, remember?), threats of “windfall profits” taxes (when “big oil” profit margins remain lower than in many other industries, all of whom have fiduciary obligations to their shareholders…free markets again!), and now through total House capitulation on ANWR and offshore exploration (which would be funded by those “windfall” profits), we have put our party in a position that is indistinguishable from the Democrats.
At this point, the only thing that’s keeping me in your camp is the GOP’s seriousness about fighting Islamofascist terror. The rest is a mess.
Reader Warner A.:
As the Speaker of the House it is incumbent upon you to lead the Republican majority in the House of Representatives. I am an adult Republican who has waited his entire life for a Republican majority, and I am sick at heart over the passivity of Republicans. We must exploit every drop of oil available to us in our fifty states. Dropping the provision for drilling in ANWR was an act of spineless capitulation.
I have voted Republican in every election since I voted for Barry Goldwater in 1964. If you guys don’t find the courage to advance the conservative agenda, I may go fishing on the next Election Day!
Reader Patrick S.:
Sir, I am appalled at how so called “moderate” Republicans can just flush our energy policy down the toilet by siding with Democrats to get ANWR drilling removed from the budget bill. Republican citizens once thought that by having our party in power, we would finally see the country set right on an energy policy that would reduce our dependence on foreign sources.
What really kills me here is the fact that it is members of our own party who put politics above common sense in deciding their position on this issue. Bill Clinton vetoed drilling in 1995. Had he not, the issues which arose during Katrina would have been minimal. Why are Republicans and the administration taking the hit on this one?
So here we stand again setting ourselves up so that in 2015, when gasoline is $7.00 a gallon, the body politic can scream for the head of another Republican president.
Or even worse, we could be asking President Hillary Clinton why our gas prices are so high and she’ll be able to coyly say “remember the 25 Republicans who dropped it from the bill in 2005, its their fault, its the Republicans fault we never drilled.
Please reconsider your position on this issue. Please communicate my feelings to the 25 who are blocking it from being part of the bill.
I will be closely watching the voting record of my representatives in regards to this issue. Right now, I am discouraged as a Republican. At a time when the party is losing support before mid-term elections, this is not a good thing…
Reader Steve A.:
Dear Mr. Speaker,
After years of fighting the good fight, contributing money to the GOP to help gain control of the House, the Senate and the Executive branches of government how are we conservatives repaid? You punt on drilling in Anwar and bring the big oil companies in and grill them for making, hold on now, PROFITS! Good grief! You and your Republican comrades should be ashamed of yourselves. “Should be” of course being the operative words because you won’t be! You will all have clever answers and meaningless phrases to excuse your cowardess…all while we ask our best and brightest to go over seas, fight and die to protect this nation! You and the rest of your cowardly republicans disgust me, sir! No more money or support from this conservative in the next election!
Reader John M.:
To Representative Sam Graves, R-MO
Sam, I am angry, disappointed, and disillusioned about the Republican CAVE-IN on ANWAR Drilling to the tree hugging left wingers. What good is your majority if you do not use it?
America needs energy, and needs to lessen its dependence on foreign oil, and the Republicans had better get on the stick, or suffer the consequences in the voting booth. Please tell your fellows to wake the hell up.
11/28 update: The Open Secrets website, which I linked to above, has now deleted its reference to the $50,000 donation from George Soros to the Main Street Individual Fund, 2004 Election Cycle. The April 2004 contribution was returned, according to Open Secrets researcher Dan Auble. A separate, earlier $50,000 Soros contribution was retained by MSIF, according to NRO’s Jim Geraghty.
The Republican Main Street Partnership has sent a letter accusing me of “libelous statements” based on its misreading of this post. See here for more details.